Sports and parents: Who dropped the ball?

Grace Rosko, Junior Contributor

The most common and mainstream sports fan these days is considered to be the “soccer mom.” Traditionally seen in their element, with their child’s name plastered on a t-shirt, “Tommy’s #1… GOOO Tigers!!,” holding a cooler full of orange slices for the team, and constantly scrutinizing the other parents.

In viewing recent trends, I have began to compile a couple of questions, “How has this culture of extreme parent intervention in sports caused the activity itself to change?”and, “What has changed in the last 35 years within sports, to cause them to become this intense?” 

In a recent post- season interview with former NFL kicker, Jeff Wilkins, the topic of year round sports came up. Wilkins laughed and said, “I feel for the athletes of your generation, we somehow decided to make something that was supposed to be fun; a strenuous and stressful activity.”

Wilkins further elaborated on the fact that he believes that all-year sports is a waste of time. 

It is up for debate whether or not he is correct; but he does have a compelling argument. If you think about it, some of the greatest athletes of our country did not play their sport all year round. Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods, Sareena Williams, Tom Brady, etc; they all excel(ed) at their sport, and many were not contracted to play club. Though, some sports like football or tennis, might not offer a year- round alternative; most do. 

Not to say that as an athlete, you do not have to train in the off season; however, going to the gym a few times a week, and actually playing in tournaments are two separate playing fields. It is now a way of passage that you must play all year round; or you will inevitably fall behind. These days kids and parents are seen spending thousands of dollars, and countless hours traveling for practice and tournaments. 

Year round sports do have their perks, and now more than ever has helped kids get full scholarships and set their futures. Meeting new friends, and creating lifelong connections with coaches and refs. Though traveling can get tiring (especially around the holidays), and the amount of money spent often times gets astronomical; playing all year round sports can make your future appear before your eyes. 

As we come back around to the questions asked in the beginning, did parents ruin sports for our generation? That answer has been always up for grabs; but as an athlete myself; sometimes I do wonder what it would be like if club volleyball was not a thing. It becomes weird to think that I would have a life for the remaining nine months of the year after school season would finish up. All in all, it is important to know your limits, and if the arena becomes too much to handle; it is okay to take a step back from it.

Best of luck to all the Canfield athletes starting their winter sport, and to all the players moving on to club; make our community proud!